Doing business in another language

Using translators and interpreters in business

To help you communicate and do business with other European Economic Area (EEA) countries in another language, you can employ a translator or interpreter - either a freelancer, or from an agency.

Translators work on written texts and you can employ them to translate legal documents, user guides for products, technical information, tender specifications, letters and marketing material.

You can also employ interpreters to help with face-to-face or telephone meetings, factory visits and interviews.

Rates vary according to the language and the complexity of the translation required. Translators usually charge by the word (or character for Far Eastern languages), while interpreters charge by the day or half day.

The following organisations can help you to find a translator or interpreter:

  • The Chartered Institute of Linguists (IoL) offers a Find-A-Linguist service online.
  • Regional language networks can put you in touch with translators or interpreters in your region.

In addition, there are many websites where linguists post their CVs:

The Directorate-General for Translation (DG Translation) is the European Commission's in-house translation service.

The Interactive Terminology for Europe (IATE) database houses all of the European Union's terminology resources in one place, containing around 1.4 million words and phrases.

You could also do translation work yourself. If you find online research information in a different language, you could use free online translation services, such as Google translate, to get a rough translation into English.